By Maria YagerOctober 24, 2018
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Families and friends from the Fort Campbell community met at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Oct. 18 for Footprints on Our Heart, an annual remembrance for families who have suffered a pregnancy loss or grieved the loss of an infant.
"One in four women will miscarry a baby in their lifetime, which is a lot, when you think about it. You may have several women in your family, in your life, or in your friend group who have experienced a miscarriage and you may not even know it," said event organizer Capt. Lindsay Miller, BACH labor and delivery clinical nursing officer in charge.
"It's been five years and sometimes it still affects me," said Spc. Kearra Murry, a motor-transport operator assigned to 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. Murry was twenty-weeks pregnant when she lost her daughter. "Monday was Infant Loss Awareness Day so we lit a candle and we still celebrate her all the time," said Murry, who attended Footprints on Our Heart with her husband Sgt. William Smith, also assigned to the 96th ASB.
Sponsored by the hospital, Footprints on Our Heart is held annually on Fort Campbell in conjunction with October's National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The event is held for families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, intrauterine fetal demise or infant death and is focused on remembrance and healing. Blanchfield also offers a support group for families who have experienced infant or pregnancy loss.
"It's really important for these parents to know they are not alone," said Miller. She said unfortunately it's a difficult subject for some people to talk about in our society and as a result people suffer in silence. The hospital group helps connect military families that share this experience. "It can be a really lonely experience to go through. When you find somebody who has been through this before that can be very helpful," said Miller.
The remembrance is also an opportunity to help friends and families in the community learn how they can support parents who have experienced a loss.
"A lot of people want to help, and they just don't know what to do or what to say, so that can be hard. Just knowing that you want to help can be so beneficial to that mom or dad going through a loss," said Miller. She recommends simply sharing that you are there for them. "You may not know exactly what they need, but just letting them know that you're there, you're available, that you're thinking about them helps," said Miller.
Footprints on Our Heart featured guest speaker Rachel Slater, who shared her experiences with miscarriage and the loss of her infant soon after giving birth. Families listened and then participated in healing activities to remember the life they lost. One activity included making holiday ornaments with names and words of encouragement and remembrance. These ornaments will be displayed on a holiday tree in the hospital later this year.
The annual remembrance served as an opportunity to connect and reconnect participants with others who have experienced loss.
"Today I came out because we are the parents of three babies who passed away and we've made it our ministry and our life mission to support other parents who are going through something similar to let them know that there is hope in healing even after life's greatest loss," said Footprints on Our Heart participant Sharee Moore. "Any opportunity I have to be a support and participate in something like this, I'm there."
The hospital's next the pregnancy and infant loss support group meeting is Monday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in the hospital chapel. For more information, contact the hospital chapel staff at 270-798-8464.